Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that began with efforts to treat borderline personality disorder. It was developed by Marsha M. Linehan, in the 1980’s while trying to help people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation. The DBT process includes learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping clients to assess which coping skills to apply to certain events, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This enables the client to avoid undesired reactions. DBT can also be used to treat the following:
- mood disorders
- Suicidal ideation
- change in behavioral patterns such as self-harm
- substance abuse
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from contemplative meditative practice.